The Krait strikes again against Lone Star insanity (and inanity). A few years ago, The Krait wrote a book about Texas (link provided in the author's profile below) and she has an appreciation (or distaste) for Lone Star rightwing politics and social attitudes. However, she contrasts the Big Love State (Utah) with the Lone Star Loonie Bin in the matter of U.S. Army training maneuvers planned for this summer in those two states as well as California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizone, and New Mexico. For training purposes, the military planners designated Utah, Texas, and the southern border of California as "Hostile Areas." Texas is the sole "Hostile Area" to take umbrage. The Krait attempts to explain Lone Star Lunacy for your reading pleasure. In the brouhaha, Governor Hotlwheels (Greg Abbott, R-TX) took a huge swallow of Teabagger Kool-Aid and announced that a branch of the Texas National Guard would "monitor" Jade Helm 15 in Central Texas. If this is (fair & balanced) nuttiness, so be it.
[x NY Fishwrap]
The Alamo And Walmart
By Gail Collins
Tag Cloud of the following piece of writing
Have you noticed that Utah doesn’t seem to be worried about a military takeover?
This was not a sentence I had ever envisioned writing. Yet here we are. A military training exercise is in the works for the Southwest this summer, and conspiracy theories are abloom. It’s hard not to be enthralled when Walmart denies that tunnels are being built under its stores to ferry troops into Texas where they will tear up the Constitution and confiscate everybody’s guns.
Hey, no laughing matter in Texas.
“This military practice has some concerned that the U.S. Army is preparing for modern-day martial law,” said [U.S.] Representative Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican.
He understands. He’s worried about tons of things, like whether Al Qaeda is camping out with Mexican drug dealers along the border. He’s exactly the person you’d want on speed dial if you had news about political apocalypse. So it’s not all that surprising that he said his office was “inundated” with alarmed calls.
Much of the hysteria focused on a map of the seven states where the military training is going to take place, colored to show how friendly the imaginary inhabitants are supposed to be for the purposes of the exercise. Texas is red and “hostile.”
The color coding was a bad move, public-relations-wise, as was naming the entire exercise Jade Helm 15. If they’d called it Operation Calico Kitten and made Oregon the pretend enemy, we would not be having this discussion now.
“I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority,” Gohmert said.
The other all-red state is Utah, but Utah seems totally indifferent to Jade Helm and all its terrors. The office of Governor Gary Herbert, a Republican, said it had received only about two dozen calls on the subject, and Herbert himself waved off the military plans as a “standard training exercise.”
Question: Is the governor of Utah’s name Gary Herbert? I thought it was something cuter and semiaquatic.
Answer: You are thinking of Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho. Idaho isn’t even in the training exercises. Although some right-wing commentators have claimed that one of Otter’s economic development initiatives is actually a plot to sell the state to the Chinese.
But let’s get back to Utah. It’s very conservative and would certainly be upset by plans for gun confiscation. (This year the Legislature’s commemorative firearm is an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle with the state motto on the side.) So why hasn’t it been moved by predictions of Jade Helm Armageddon?
“There’s nobody railing that I’ve heard at this point, “said Robert Goldberg, a professor of history at the University of Utah who has written a book on conspiracy theories.
He’s lived in Texas and finds that “Utah people have less of an edge. They’re less angry.” The state’s relative serenity, he theorized, might spring from its homogeneity. “I think people feel they’re in control. It’s a confident conservatism.”
Texas is getting more diverse by the hour, so maybe that’s it. Although conservatives would say their angst is because of the bullying behemoth that is Washington. Where only 28.5 percent of House committees are led by Texas Republicans. Where there’s been a Texan in the White House for only a third of the last nine presidencies. Honestly, these people need to do more to earn their paranoia.
Everyone who operates in the public world and gets mail knows that a small percentage of the American population is completely out of its mind. It’s always been that way. The founding fathers probably received letters from people who believed King George was living in a barn down the road and spying on the local militia while disguised as a burro. The difference now, of course, is that the Internet and social media make them a lot more visible and noisy.
It’s also always been true that any legislative body has a handful of members who are both loony and extremely talkative. They have no influence on their colleagues, but these days they have the power to go viral. Louie Gohmert is only there for the cheap thrills.
Even in Texas, prominent conservatives don’t believe the state is in danger of military takeover. But they also don’t want to look as if they’re taking the Obama administration’s side, even when it comes to assuring the public there won’t be a coup in Midland. “When you see a federal government that is attacking our free speech rights, our religious liberty rights, our Second Amendment rights, that produces distrust as to government,” Senator Ted Cruz, and presidential candidate, told Bloomberg Politics.
So the bad news is that there are a lot of spineless politicians out there. On the other hand, despite a week’s worth of tireless effort by right-wing radio talk-show hosts, bloggers and tweeters, there actually appear to be very few people who think the military is going to stage a takeover via the tunnels under Walmart.
Take the good news where you can get it. Thanks, Utah. Ω
[Gail Collins joined the New York Times in 1995 as a member of the editorial board and later as an op-ed columnist. In 2001 she became the first woman ever appointed editor of the Times editorial page. At the beginning of 2007, she took a leave in order to complete America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines. Collins returned to the Times as a columnist in July 2007. Collins has a BA (journalism) from Marquette University and an MA (government) from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Gail Collins’s newest book is As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda (2012).]
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